Unions representing 55,000 education aid workers in Ontario, Canada delay strike vote as Ford government announces wage cut plan
Are you an Ontario educator? Let us know what you think of the Ford government’s provocative proposals and CUPE’s deadlock tactics.Email the Ontario Educational Workers General Safety Board [email protected] Also Join Facebook Group.
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Ontario’s far-right Progressive Conservative government last week launched a major provocation against education workers, proposing wage increases for just 2% of education support staff earning less than $40,000 a year. Caregivers, educational assistants, early childhood educators, and administrative staff earning over $40,000 were presented with an even more pitiful 1.25% annual increase. That’s just a fraction of her current inflation rate of over 8%.
The proposed four-year deal is a declaration of war on the working class. Offering below-inflation wages sets the stage for an intensifying attack on public education and an escalation of attacks on the standard of living of all workers. Attacks on educators go hand in hand with attacks on healthcare workers and the healthcare system. The government, led by Prime Minister Doug Ford, is preparing a comprehensive healthcare privatization program aimed at creating a two-tier healthcare system. This allows all but the most basic medical care to be withheld from those who cannot afford it.
Education Minister Steven Lecce has vowed to roll out anti-democratic return-to-work laws to criminalize the strike, but said in a statement after the announcement that the government’s proposal was “reasonable, fair and stable.” It provides sexuality,” he said. This statement turns reality upside down. Provocative and insulting proposals are deliberately unreasonable and unfair, destabilizing the lives of educators and the public education system as a whole.
Education workers’ wages have been cut by 19% over the past decade. Many older education workers have seen consistent cuts in wages and benefits since the social contract was introduced in the early 1990s by the hated New Democratic government under then-Prime Minister Bob Wray. I have seen it exist. At current rates, inflation will rise by about 30% during the four-year deal proposed by the government. So a meager 8 percent increase over four years equates to a salary cut of over 20 percent.
Faced with this threat to further reduce the standard of living of educated workers, unions are focused above all on dismantling opposition to the Ford government among their members and the more general population. . The Ontario Board of Education Union Council (OSBCU), part of the Civil Servants Union of Canada (CUPE), announced earlier this week that it would not even hold a strike vote until September 23rd. Yet even though she’s been over a month since the contracts of 55,000 education aid workers expired, OSBCU president and chief negotiator Laura Walton is set to strike in a planned vote. He stressed that support for .
Walton’s OSBCU has released the first proposals for an agreement that includes an annual wage increase of 11.7%. This demand is barely able to keep up with inflation approaching double digits, and has not even impacted the wage cuts that education workers have suffered over the past decade.
The OSBCU will not fight for its own demands, which are largely open to the public as part of a false “open bargaining” policy. “Open bargaining” procedures aimed at extremist workers who are skeptical, if not outright hostile, to the OSBCU leadership because of a series of betrayals, with the real deal taking place behind the scenes. In the meantime, the union will be releasing some carefully crafted details. The “negotiations”, which are actually discussions between partners on how best to impose aggression on workers, have not been livestreamed for all to see.
In an August 17 interview with CityNews Ottawa, Walton urged Lecce to “reconsider” the government’s proposal, arguing that the two sides must “get closer” to reach an agreement. She stressed that a strike would not occur if the education minister came to the table with a “fair deal.”Translated into plain English, this is the inadequate 11.7 of his widely touted by the OSBCU. I mean Walton won’t even fight for the % proposal. If Lecce and company could “get closer” by offering either 3% or his 4% per annum, Walton and his OSBCU bureaucrats would surrender before the strike began and the first government proposal was evaded, resulting in will be welcomed as a “victory”.
In the same interview, Walton said, “The ball is in Mr. Lecce’s court.” In other words, the trade union bureaucracy has ceded political initiative to the far-right PC government and has gone on the offensive in the working-class struggle against the capitalist austerity policies imposed by the unpopular government. don’t ask for help. It surpassed 18 percent of eligible voters in June’s state elections.
Importantly, OSBCU does not have a single demand for negotiating proposals on health and safety measures in the context of the still raging COVID-19 pandemic. This is not surprising given that education unions have all defended the reckless back-to-school campaign led by Ford as part of the government’s “profit over life” pandemic policy. The back-to-school campaign was critical to protecting corporate interests, as it freed parents from childcare responsibilities and allowed them to return to high-yield jobs for the corporate elite.
The teachers’ union, which has more than 200,000 members, insists it will negotiate separately with the Ford government at a later date to prevent a united struggle between teachers and support workers demanding better wages and conditions. Karen Littlewood, president of the Ontario Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OSSTF), has largely denied strikes by Ontario teachers, claiming that “members of the federation” will be “in the classroom” in the fall.
During each bargaining round, the education union engages in the same carefully choreographed “collective bargaining” procedure. Education workers, who work in the same building and even in the same classroom, are arbitrarily divided into occupational groups, so that unions can conspire behind the scenes with government ministers to turn them off one at a time. You can sell off.
For example, in 2019, the OSBCU thwarted a strike by its members by announcing a contract accepting the Ford government’s 1% annual wage cap for public sector workers on the eve of its scheduled start. Valid at the time. After allowing teachers to defuse tensions in a series of community strikes, the OSSTF and other teachers’ unions accepted the same wage cap months later.
To prevent a similar sellout this time around, education workers must spearhead a working-class political struggle against the capitalist austerity policies pursued by the Ford government and Trudeau liberals at the federal level. it won’t work. The advocacy of public education is an important factor in the independent mobilization of workers to fight for the reorganization of society, and to divert their vast resources to meeting burning social needs rather than private gain. I can do it. Educators wishing to join this struggle should join and establish the Ontario General Commission of Educators.